Nikkei-225 closes at lowest yearend level since 1982

Nikkei-225 closes at lowest yearend level since 1982

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
Nikkei-225 closes at lowest yearend level since 1982

A visitor looks at a ceremony marking the end of trading for the year at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo Dec 30. Japan’s Nikkei index average edged higher on Dec 30, but shed 17 percent in 2011 following the arthquake. REUTERS photo

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei-225 index finished 2011 at its lowest year-end level since 1982, despite rising on Dec. 30 thanks to upbeat economic data from the United States. The Nikkei finished at 8,455.35 points, down 17.34 percent from the 2010 close of 10,228.92, with the March 11 earthquake and tsunami taking its toll on share prices. It was the worst year-end figure since 1982.

The Topix index of all first section issues closed Friday 0.9 percent higher at 728.61 points.

“There were a few times when the Nikkei index recovered to 9,000 to 10,000 after the disaster, but it didn’t hold at those levels too long,” Daisuke Uno, chief market strategist of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, said. “The Tokyo stock market has had a weak year, falling about 2,000 points since the beginning of the year.”

Tokyo stocks, which had ended above the 10,400 level on the day before the March disaster, plummeted to 8,605 points on March 15.

Investors are not optimistic about the coming year with the eurozone debt crisis expected to continue taking its toll on the global economy.

“As the year 2012 begins, market participants will likely be reminded that the European fiscal problems continue to worsen,” Dai-ichi Life Research Institute chief economist Yoshikiyo Shimamine said. “The market’s focus, whether willing or not, will be on Europe at the beginning of the New Year, as rating companies are expected to announce results of their reviews on eurozone nations.”